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Apr 26, 2012



"Trimble talks of millions of users ("With over 30 million SketchUp activations in just the last year" adds a SketchUp product manager), but most of those millions are not interested in Trimble."

How can you say this? Rather say most do not know Trimble and/or how they could use one of Trimble's integrated solutions in the future.

I fear you are looking at Sketchup through CAD goggles, SU is so much more than a CAD product to so many millions of users and I hope Trimble understands it and does not restrict SU's evolution. Sketchup truly is 3D for everyone and it has a very passionate following, more than just a CAD tool.

Thomas Thomassen

How bad is the API? I mean, I develop plugins for SketchUp, there are definitely room for improvement - but I wouldn't say it's "bad". You got examples?

I for sure hopes that they develop SketchUp as a platform - keep it lean and simple. A platform they offer packages to extend and adapt SketchUp for their (Trimble) customers in their industry - while allowing existing customer base to keep using it as they did, adapting it with other third party extensions to suit their needs.

Google did very little for the API platform, perhaps not so surprising when you consider what they wanted SketchUp for. So I hope that with this change, Trimble's intentions for SketchUp as a platform makes it more powerful which will benefit anyone who develop for the platform.

Kevin E.

"SketchUp has been a thorn in Autodesk's side for... many reasons."

Just Autodesk?

Ralph Grabowski

As best as I recall, Autodesk's the only one to publicly announce its plan to obviate the need for SketchUp (and Rhino) with features being added to AutoCAD. Their plan failed, miserably, of course, because $4,000 does not compete well with $0 (or $500).


Umm ... what is those complicated CAD user interface for billions of people anyway?
Most people don't want to even use CAD. Try show them how to use CAD, most of them would run away ASAP.

Their goals are to sketch out, design their ideas and get things done.

CAD is just a legacy tech term for a practical way to solve problem in the last century. It will be obsoleted sooner or later. Most people just feel they want to get their design done in some thing easy like playing game such as The Sim, SimCity, CryEngine or Unreal in dacades to come, when we have a lot real improvement in tools and UI.

And when the tech reach it point, most people don't want to know what under the hood. And SketchUp is exactly that for most people, but still able to do incredible stuff with real productivity when one get a hang of it.

I don't want anyone called SketchUp a CAD. It isn't, it's the tool for kids, learners, teachers, architects to engineers to sketch ideas in easy, quick and natural way in 3D even without the need of CAD.

Kevin E.

I think the people that use Sketchup and the people that use Autocad are 2 distinct different groups. I could be wrong.

I have no data to support this, but I would guess that Sketchup competes more with the low cost cad programs than it does with Autocad and above.

I would also be interested to know of those 30 million downloads of Sketchup, what the percentage breakdown between their free and paid verions are. Also, how many active users of Sketchup there are?

John Bacus

@Kevin E. The "30 million" number is unique product activations in the last 12 months, not downloads. We have elsewhere reported that there are 2 million unique activations of SketchUp every week. We don't report the 'free' vs. 'pro' breakdown.

All evidence (even anecdote) suggests that SketchUp is widely used in the Architectural design process. Products like Autocad are better and more widely used for documentation.


Kevin E.

What is the difference between an activation and a download?

I agree with what you are saying. Sketchup is in addition to Autocad, not a replacement for Autocad. So, it really isn't hurting their sales.

John Bacus

@Kevin E: An 'activation' is measured when SketchUp is successfully launched by a user. A 'unique activation' dedupes multiple activations from a single installation over a set period of time— as, for example, when a single user launches SketchUp multiple times in a single day.

We prefer to measure 'activations' over 'downloads' or 'seats sold' as they more accurately represent actual usage of our program in the real world.


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